You all know I am a staunch meatetarian but on the odd occasion I love a good, clean, healthy vego meal. Particularly one that almost feels like you are eating meat. These delicious little bundles of spinach and ricotta joy were just that kind of meal. Packed full of flavour and nestled in a rich tomato sauce they ticked every box!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $ Low Budget
Serves 4 as a main or 6 as an entree`
250gm of frozen spinach, thawed
400gm of ricotta (try and buy a nice firm one from the deli as opposed to the runny type in the dairy section)
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
1 tbs of fresh thyme leaves
1 cup of ‘OO’ flour (plain will be fine too)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt and cracked pepper
40gms of butter and fresh thyme stalks (for poaching)
Extra virgin olive oil & freshly grated parmesan to serve
For the Sauce:
Olive oil for frying
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs of thyme leaves
1/2 cup of dry white wine
700ml jar of passata
1/2 tsp of sugar
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Place the thawed frozen spinach in a fine sieve and using the back of a spoon, press down on the spinach to drain all the water out. You want the spinach to be really dry.
In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan, thyme leaves, egg and spinach, season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Gradually add the flour, stirring with a spatula until you have a very thick batter. It will be quite sticky and will need to use a little brute force to combine the mixture.
Heat a large frypan or casserole and add a little olive oil. Lightly fry the garlic and thyme leaves for 60 seconds or until aromatic before adding the wine. Reduce the wine for a minute or two and then add the passata and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the butter and thyme leaves and reduce the heat to a low boil. Using two spoons, scoop up a ping pong ball amount of the batter with one of the spoons and use the other spoon to knock it into the boiling water. Use this first Gnudi as a tester……it will sink to the bottom but after a couple of minutes it will rise to the surface. Once on the surface allow it to float on top for another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. If the Gnudi falls apart you may need to add a little more flour to bind the mixture. It really depends on how dry the spinach and ricotta are. If the first one gets the thumbs up, cook the rest of the gnudi in batches (if they are a little under done on the inside it won’t matter as they will continue to poach in the tomato sauce).
Remove the Gnudi from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to the tomato sauce. When all the dumplings are transferred, allow them to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Serve the Gnudi with a generous smattering of freshly grated parmesan, a good lug of extra virgin olive oil and a crisp green salad. Bellissimo!